Nintendo’s Wii U is the best system for playing classic games

The prevailing narrative around the Wii U is that the machine was a failure. In many respects, that’s objectively true. From its abysmal install base to its inability to court third-party developers, the Wii U tanked confidence in Nintendo. Even some inside the Nintendo community when the system was commercially relevant were dissatisfied by it. However, the legacy of the Wii U has been kinder than its lifecycle was. Now more than ever, people are willing to entertain the clear successes of the device.

Perhaps the Switch’s most baffling stumbling block is its approach to legacy content. Outside of the controversial Nintendo Switch Online suites, little has been done to preserve generations of classic titles. As such, the Wii U looks even better. While its Virtual Console rollout was slow, the final result is an ecosystem that’s absolutely stuffed with Nintendo history.

A lot of the Wii U’s strengths have been drawn in contrast to the Nintendo Switch’s various shortcomings. While the latter is astronomically successful, its few lacking elements underscore where the Wii U succeeded itself. The console’s inability to find a foothold in the market led to a myopia that made its victories easy to overlook.

Through Wii U, players have access to content across every system except for the GameCube, Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Virtual Boy. Otherwise, players have access to the bulk of each respective system’s greatest titles. From NES to Wii U games proper, there is no better machine to own for experiencing Nintendo’s legacy. Those who value this history should invest in a Wii U even in 2021. The value and accessibility of the back catalog on the console alone makes it arguably Nintendo’s most essential system.

This is doubly true as the Wii U’s legacy content goes deeper than many realize. From Earthbound Beginnings to Sin & Punishment to Kuru Kuru Kururin, the machine allows players to explore corners of that legacy which have gone under appreciated. This content suite isn’t just about revisiting the headlining Mario titles, it’s about gaining a deeper appreciation for Nintendo’s diverse development and publishing lineage. No other console curates a library this deep.

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